How Long Do Mattresses Last?
Is it time to buy a new mattress? How do you know?
These are questions that consumers ask themselves every day. After all, you don’t want to sleep on a mattress that isn’t comfortable or that makes your back hurt, both of which can happen when your mattress gets old. If you’re wondering whether it’s time to replace your current mattress, here’s all the information you need to make a good decision.
As it turns out, how long a mattress lasts and what you should look for as it breaks down varies based on the type of mattress that you have. Different mattress materials will degrade differently, so it’s important to understand what to think about when deciding whether or not to replace your particular bed. It’s also important to think about these things when you’re mattress shopping.
Memory foam is the best-known type of foam mattress, but many are made of polyfoam and other types of foam, too. In fact, many foam mattresses have different types of foam making up the different layers.
Whenever you’re dealing with a foam mattress, you should be able to find the density of the mattress. This is how much one cubic foot of the foam weighs. Lower density memory foams range from 2.0-4.0 pounds, mid-density foams are 4.1-5.5 pounds, and high-density foams are over 5.5 pounds. Most people won’t be comfortable sleeping on foam that is denser than 5.3 pounds.
Polyfoam density is slightly different. For these, HR foam is the most dense, with a density of 2.5 pounds and above, but it is hard to find. Very good density is in the 2.0-2.5 pound range. 1.8-2.0 pounds is still above standard, while 1.5-1.8 pounds is standard. Foams in the 1.5-2.0 pound range are called HD foams. Anything below 1.5 pounds is conventional foam, and its density is below what is considered standard for mattresses.
However, the denser the foam, the longer your mattress will last. Low-density foam mattresses tend to last from 4 to 6 years, while mid and high-density ones last 8-10 years. Over time, the spaces between the foam compress and can’t expand again. This causes the bed to sag where you sleep on it, and not to go back to its original position once you get up.
Some foam mattresses have a base layer or a core layer of foam that is different from the layer you sleep on. When you’re buying a bed, it’s important to get the density of both layers because you don’t want either to degrade too fast.
Replace your foam bed when it starts to sag or when depressions in the bed left by your body don’t slowly disappear when you get up. When your bed sags more than an inch or two, you will want to get a new one, especially if you require good back support to remain pain-free.
Latex mattresses might not get spoken of as often as memory foam ones do, but they are revered when it comes to their durability. Latex foam is similar to other foams in that its density is measured in pounds, but it’s an entirely different material.
Latex can either be natural or be made synthetically. When it’s natural, latex comes from the rubber tree. The material is mixed with chemicals and whipped into a froth, then allowed to dry and that’s what you sleep on. Synthetic latex is made from petrochemicals but it feels and sleeps similar to natural latex. Many beds these days are made of latex that is a combination of natural and synthetic. Natural latex mattresses can last up to 10 years, while synthetic or blended latex beds last 6-8 years, on average.
There are also different processes used to make latex. The Talalay process makes latex that is softer, less dense, and generally less durable. The Dunlop process makes latex that may not feel as comfortable to sleep on but will last longer. Many mattresses use a more dense, Dunlop-processed core with a less dense, Talalay-processed sleeping surface. This can combine the best of both worlds, providing a mattress that is longer-lasting but still feels soft to sleep on.
Some latex mattresses come with extended warranties up to 25 years. Many times, these beds will last if you replace one layer when it wears out. This is usually the softest layer, and how and when to replace it will be covered by your particular warranty.
Latex will eventually sag in a manner similar to foam. When it sags or doesn’t recover after you sleep on it, you’ll know it’s time for a new bed.
Most innerspring mattresses aren’t known for their durability, especially when compared to other types of beds. If you like the feel of an innerspring mattress best, though, or you want to save some money and you’ve decided an innerspring bed is the way to go, there are a few things you can look for.
Innerspring mattresses actually have coiled springs inside of them, which are then covered in a comfort layer, which can be made of various materials, and fabric over the top. The wire that makes up the springs will have a particular thickness, which is indicated by its gauge. Most innerspring mattresses on the market today have wires between 12 and 15 gauge.
For the purposes of durability, choose a mattress with a high gauge of wire in its springs. These springs won’t get compressed as easily, so the bed will maintain its shape and supportiveness for a longer time. If this isn’t comfortable for you, consider buying a mattress with a topper or buy one and install it on your own. These are extra layers of padding that make the bed feel softer and more comfortable for some people but can allow you to sleep on a bed with a higher gauge of wire.
Don’t keep an innerspring bed for more than 8 years, though lower gauge ones may only last 4-5 years. You’ll know it’s time for a new bed when your back hurts upon waking or when the bed gets lumpy and bumpy. You may even begin to feel springs poking into you when you’re trying to sleep.
Hybrid mattresses combine innerspring beds with latex and/or foam ones. They have individual wire coils in pockets, which are then covered by one or more layers of latex foam to help make the bed more comfortable.
The durability of a hybrid mattress depends on both the gauge of the wire used in the coils and the density of foam or latex that makes up the comfort layers. Higher gauge wire combined with high-density foam will make for a bed that’s built to last, while lower gauge wire and low-density foam beds will wear out faster.
It can be difficult to give an accurate range for how long a hybrid mattress will last because there are so many options for variation in the products used to make it. In general, they last from 5-8 years. Like latex beds, some of these will allow you to replace a comfort layer without replacing the entire bed. As long as the springs are still intact, this can extend the lifespan of the bed significantly.
Tips for Making Your Mattress Last Longer
No matter which type of bed works best for you, there are some things you can do to extend the life of your bed. These aren’t magic, but they can help your bed last until the top of its lifespan, rather than needing to be replaced at the bottom.
Rotate and/or flip your mattress.
Rotating a mattress means keeping the same side up, but putting the side where your head used to go down by your feet. Flipping it means putting the side that is down, against the box spring or the platform, up, so you can sleep on it. Almost all beds can be rotated, but only some are designed to be flipped. Either way, changing the part of the bed where you sleep will help your mattress last longer. If you can rotate and flip it, do that. If you can only rotate that, be sure it gets done. Move your mattress every 3-6 months for ultimate longevity.
Cover your mattress.
Put a protective mattress pad over your bed. If you eat and drink a lot in bed, consider one that is waterproof and that zips to protect your entire mattress. While a spill doesn’t have to be catastrophic for your bed, in certain cases it can mean replacing the mattress. Make sure you don’t need to get a new bed prematurely by covering the one you have safely.
Clean your mattress.
If your bed gets dirty, get it clean as quickly as possible. This will keep it free from bacteria, mildew, and mold so you can comfortably sleep on it for as long as possible.
Durability is an important factor when you’re choosing a mattress. However, it is only one factor. You need a bed that will last. You also need one that is comfortable, offers your body the support it needs, and is within your price range. You should be able to find one that meets all of your qualifications.